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Carpenters recruit by showing off training center Posted by on

There's welcome news for construction contractors in New England worried about a current or looming skilled labor shortage. Today, more than 900 students currently enrolled in vocational high schools or programs are visiting the New England Carpenters Training Center in Millbury, Massachusetts today.

During their visit, they're learning more about the comprehensive training programs available in the diverse carpentry trade. They're also seeing some of the most sophisticated facilities in the country, combining state-of-the-art shop and work space with classrooms, dormitory, dining and recreation space.

Though some students may have experience in limited aspects of the industry, today's tour gives them a comprehensive view of the trade, work conditions and career opportunities available to trained, motivated and supprted trades workers.

A lack of skilled trades workers is consistently cited in surveys by employers as a limiting factor for company growth and their ability to deliver consistent quality work. Contractors signatory to the Carpenters union have the advantage of joint training programs and fairly negotiated wage and benefit packages that attract the most qualified applicants.

For more information on training programs visit nercc.org/training





Bay State Drywall carpenters win union election Posted by on

 In an election held last night in Southeastern Massachusetts by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), carpenters employed by Bay State Drywall voted for union representation from the Carpenters union by a 10-8 margin. The Freetown-based company is one of a group of contractors in the Fall River-New Bedford area, sometimes referred to as "drywall alley," that draw carpenters from the substantial Portuguese population. During peak season, they typically employ 40-50 carpenters and have been one of the larger nonunion companies in the market.

Representatives from the New England Regional Council of Carpenters have become familiar faces to Bay State employees over the years thanks to countless jobsite visits, which created a level of trust. When there were disputes with the owners over restoring pay cuts made during slow times, the workers decided to go forward with a union election.

Negotiation of an agreement with Bay State cannot start until after the NLRB resolves a union challenge to the uncounted ballots of six employees that Bay State had argued should be included in the election. Those employees are primarily tapers and the Council has taken the position that they do not fall under the definition of a carpenter bargaining unit. A Board ruling on the matter may take as long as two months.

"I'm proud of the carpenters who had the courage to stand up to the company and proud of our staff that led the organizing drive," said Mark Erlich, NERCC Executive Secretary-Treasurer. "NLRB elections are not that common in the construction industry and this victory sends a message that we will use every tool at our disposal to represent working carpenters in New England."





CTA signs union agreement Posted by on

CTA Construction signed a collective bargaining agreement with the New England Regional Council of Carpenters on July 2nd. The contract represents a culmination of a long campaign by the Council and extensive discussions over the past few years between the two organizations.

CTA was founded in 2000 by Lyle Coghlin and Pat Tompkins. Over the past fourteen years, the company has emerged as one of the larger public construction contractors in Massachusetts, with an annual volume of $138 million in 2013. CTA was listed as the 12th largest general contractor in the 2012 Boston Business Journal's Book of Lists and is currently ranked as the 376th biggest firm in ENR's national survey.

"We are pleased that CTA is now a union contractor," commented Mark Erlich, NERCC's Executive Secretary-Treasurer. "We believe that access to a higher caliber of subcontractors and skilled carpenters will allow the company to grow even further."
 





NERCC awards $59,650 in scholarships Posted by on

The New England Regional Council of Carpenters announced that it has awarded $59,650 to 152 applicants as part of the 2014 Scholarship Contest.

The NERCC Scholarship Fund is supported by settlement agreements between the union and contractors and other contributions. Its function is to help members and dependents who are attending school with the ever-increasing costs of a college education. Students must be enrolled in post-high school program and maintain a “C” average in at least three, three-credit courses to apply. All applicants must complete an essay, which is read and scored by a panel of judges who do not know the identity of the writers.

Applicants were required to write an essay of between 500 and 1000 words on the following topic: Union workers at Boeing Co. in Seattle recently vote on a proposed contract that eliminated their pension plans in exchange for guarantees of future jobs. What are your thoughts on this controversy vis-à-vis the role of the company and the role of the unions? If you were a union member there, how would you have voted and why?

A $5,000 first prize was given to Kaitlyn Benoit, daughter of Floorcoverers Local 2168’s Daniel Benoit. A second prize of $3,000 was awarded to Joseph Cunningham, whose father, Peter Cunningham, is a member of Carpenters Local 33.

Congrats to all of the scholarship recipients! 





NECTF hosts graduation ceremony Posted by on

On May 1st, the New England Carpenters Training Center hosted a graduation ceremony for the 2013 New England Carpenters Training Fund Apprentice Graduates. 129 members, representing 20 locals, completed their training in the apprenticeship program in 2013. Mark Erlich, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters was the Keynote speaker.

Four members were specially recognized with awards given out at the ceremony. Local 107 member Corey Wagner, Local 94 member Alex Palmisciano and Local 56 member Thomas Stone each received the Golden Hammer Award. This award is given out each year to one member from each of the trades represented in that year’s graduating class. It is awarded to the graduate demonstrating outstanding craftsmanship and dedication to the profession.

Local 33 member Emerson Ocampo received the Zachary Constant Award, recognizing the graduating apprentice who displays an all-around commitment to the craft, the union and the community.

Congratulations to all of the graduates!





Reminder - Scholarship Applications due April 11th Posted by on

Applications are now being accepted for the 2014 New England Regional Council Scholarship Program. Last year 106 students applied and a total of $52,000 was awarded, including the top prize scholarship of $5,000.

Please review eligibility guidelines before applying. Guidelines and applications may be downloaded from nercc.org/scholarship and are available at locals union affiliates. The deadline for applications to be returned to NERCC is APRIL 11, 2014, 5:00 p.m. No exceptions! If you have any questions about the application, please call Malerie Anderson at (617) 307-5112. Winners will be notified in June.





Bouchard retiring Posted by on

Bryan Bouchard, who serves as Business Manger of Local 1996 in Vermont, Regional Manager for Northern New England and a member of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters Executive Board has announced his retirement, effective March 11. Bouchard is a 36-year member of the UBC.


Executive Secretary-Treasurer Mark Erlich is appointing John Leavitt to fill Bouchard's unexpired term on the Executive Board as well as his role as Regional Manager for Northern New England.


"Bryan served the members on staff for the Carpenters Union for 26 years," Erlich said. "He has been a quiet but effective leader who always carried himself with dignity and integrity. He will be sorely missed by his members and the Council. We wish him a long and happy retirement."
 





Architects predict strong construction growth Posted by on

The American Institute of Architects is confidently projecting strong growth in nonresidential construction this year and next, with increase of 5% in 2013 and 7.2% in 2014. Commercial construction is expected to lead the way in growth, followed by industrial work, while institutional construction will grow at a slower pace. The AIA is basing its predictions on a comparison of its own "Architecture Billings Index" with forecasts from six different industry groups. The consistency in forecasts leads them to believe they will be very reliable.





Clean sweep in New England Posted by on

To all staff and local unions:

Yesterday was a good day for union carpenters across New England. Amazingly, all of the Council’s endorsed candidates won election. Obama swept the six states, including winning swing-state New Hampshire by a larger-than-expected margin. In the critical races -- Warren in Massachusetts, Murphy in Connecticut, Hassan/Kuster/Shea-Porter in New Hampshire, King in Maine, Cicilline in Rhode Island – our picks were all winners!!

There is no doubt in my mind that some of the credit for these outcomes belongs to all of you and our members. We worked as hard as we ever have in an election season. We used all the tools available to us – new and old techniques – to educate and mobilize our members. And they responded. Door knocking, phone banks, rallies, visibilities, robo-dials, tele-Town Halls. We had a good story to tell…and we told it well and often.

But it’s important to keep a clear-eyed perspective on where we stand the morning after Election Day 2012. In many ways, we “held serve”. We helped fend off the right wing Republican assault on the middle class. There should be a clear message to the nation’s anti-union forces that their philosophy is not welcome, that the voters do not buy an agenda that favors the wealthy over working families. Yet we still have a divided Congress; we still have a Republican Party that attacks unions. We have some new articulate champions but we also have some old foes. Paul Ryan is still chair of the House Budget Committee and there are no signs yet that the House leadership is prepared to move forward in terms of solving our country’s problems as opposed to scoring political points.

So, as much as all of us deserve to take a deep breath and feel a justified sense of pride in our efforts, we will need to remain vigilant. The economy will not fix itself; it will require more federal and state action to invest in jobs and people. And it will require our continued involvement. Our members need to work; that’s why we endorsed the candidates who understood that the best social program is a job.

Thank you all for your efforts these past weeks and months. It was worth it. Congratulations.

Mark Erlich
Executive Secretary-Treasurer
New England Regional Council of Carpenters
 





Our Work - Atwater Commons Posted by on

 

Learn more about this project by clicking here to view it in our online portfolio.





NPR highlights misclassficiation investigation at Stowe. Posted by on

Vermont Public Radio broadcast a story Tuesday about the problems the Stowe Mountain Lodge is facing as the state Department of Labor investigates the misclassification of workers building a new luxury year-round retreat.

Union carpenters, including Council Representative Matt Durocher, are heard speaking in the piece as they banner and talk to visitors. They have been trying to raise awareness of the business practices of Kal-Vin Construction, who is performing drywall work. Pizzigalli Construction is the General Contractor on the project.

Kal-Vin, out of Hudson, New Hampshire, operates under several different names, that seem to share a common interest in misclassifying workers to lower their cost. Unfortunately, the scheme puts workers at risk and gives them an unfair--and illegal--advantage against honest union and nonunion contractors.





NNE carpenters ratify new agreement Posted by on

Members in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine last night voted to ratify a new collective bargaining agreement negotiated with contractors working in the three Northern New England states. More than 88% of members voting cast a ballot to accept the three-year agreement, which will provide a $3.90 increase in the total wage and benefit package.

The financial increase is proportionally equivalent to those negotiated in other new agreements throughout the New England Regional Council of Carpenters this year. They will cover anticipated increases in benefit costs over the next three years.

Each year of the agreement $1.30 will be added to the total package, with increases coming in October and April. An immediate increase of $0.65, will be added to hourly pension contributions and $0.02 will be added to wages. The remaining $0.63 from the first and year will be added to hourly health benefit contributions on April 1, 2010. The increases of $1.30 in the second and third year will be divided and allocated by members at a future date.

The agreement also includes language to cover tide work and offshore work, clearly defining shifts, wage and overtime requirements and working conditions for those areas of work.





Good news and bad news on 1099s in VT Posted by on

They're aware of the misclassification problem within state government, but they seem resigned to being able to do little about it. Vermont News Guy writes a considered piece on his blog about the issue.

The practice - scorned as "1099ing," by construction union officials (for the Internal Revenue Service form that freelance workers fill out) -short-changes Worker Compensation, Unemployment Insurance and Social Security funds. It also "creates an unlevel playing field," in the words of Vermont Labor Commissioner Patricia Moulton Powden. Businesses that play by the rules can be underbid by their competitors who do not.
...
Powden said that before adding more enforcement officers, the state should streamline its laws, which now include "no fewer than three definitions" of how to distinguish between employees and independent contractors, so that "it can be very confusing for small business to know which way (it is) supposed to go."

With her boss, Gov. Jim Douglas, intent on cutting the state work-force, Powden could hardly support adding more workers to her own department. Bouchard of the Carpenters Union said Powden was too concerned with being considered "anti-business" if her department cracked down on labor law violators. But Powden said one step she favored was increasing the fines that companies in violation now pay.
The Vermont New Guy blog does accept comments. Please feel free to express your thoughts in a respectful way.





What do we have to offer? Posted by on

Why should an owner or developer hire union carpenters, employed by union contractors? Take a look.